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    Tuesday, June 26, 2018

    Madhya Pradesh Elections 2018 : The Rise of Agrarian Distress among the People

    This year shall witness the most obvious manifestation of this ‘Republic’ – elections, in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. Three full terms in power had led the wave of anti-incumbency against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Large-Scale Scam, Rising Farmer Discontent has opened up the possibility of the Indian National Congress (Congress) returning to the power, albeit the subject of its own unity. Additionally, with the talks of aligning all State Assembly elections with the General Election and this mass exercise of the franchise taking place this year, the role of the Union Government and the Governor assumes importance. 

    Since the fifteen years for which the BJP government had been in power, Shivraj Singh Chauhan (Chauhan) has been the Chief Minister for fifteen and his present term has not been particularly pleasurable or valuable to him personally as well as for the members of his government. Two issues particularly have been the highlight of the growing discontent among the people for the Chief Minister and his government.

    Firstly, the concerns on the role of the Government in relation to the Biggest Scam of Madhya Pradesh 'Vyapam Scam', which are twofold – the active part of former ministers, and allegations against Chauhan and next, the omission of the government to provide adequate security to the several stakeholders who died mysterious deaths.
    Second is the Government’s Questionable Policy towards Farmers of the country or the state, especially the deaths caused by the police opening fire on unarmed protesting farmers in Mandsaur district. The demands revolved around the twin aspects of increase in the Minimum Support Price, and writing-off Agrarian Loans. The government has now come up with the Mukhyamantri Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana as a solution to the demands and is still not effective or successful. Furthermore, the state’s budget was expected to address these concerns as well, but it failed. 

    Chauhan’s popularity is on the wane, with the recent example being the social media reaction to the Chief Minister slapping a young man, apparently his bodyguard. Chauhan is yet to offer a public apology to the youth. 

    With a strong factor of anti-incumbency, a strong and unified regional leadership, on occasion backed by the party high command, the party should be able to utilize the varied issues faced by the public to strengthen their base in the state. Although a simultaneous election may harm the chances of the Congress, it seems to be confident of the severe unhappiness of the people translating into a victory.

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